Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Dee Valley. Balleter to Cambus of May and Dinnet

Sunday was an RSPB members nature ramble.  Organised by the NE Scotland Members group, we started at 10.00am on the South Deeside Road at Ballater.  The walk was led by Rob Leslie.  Ten of us set off and I'm sure to the relief of Rob ten of us finished the walk with Lunch at the Cambus o' May footbridge.

Eight of the Ten
It was raining when we got out of the cars.  Someone said that if it is raining at 10 0' clock it will rain for the rest of the day.  Fortunately this weather forecasting tale was not 100% fool proof.  The rain soon stopped and did not return.

At the first stop just a few hundred yards along the road we got a good view of the river and were able to see a few of the specialist riverine birds.

Grey Wagtail

Common Sandpiper
There was also Swifts, Sand Martins, Swallows , House Martins and a Dipper.

As we carried on a Buzzard flew overhead taking some newly found road kill home.


Not long after we left the road and followed the path through woodland and by some paddocks.  Here we found Willow Warbler, Coal Tit, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Tree Pipit, Goldcrest and other woodland species.  Many of the birds were newly fledged young.  Others seemed to be tending nests nearby.  The breeding season was in full swing.

Young Tree Pipit
For most of the walk there was one  moth/butterfly that was abundant but only identified after we all got back home.  It as a Chimney Sweeper Moth.  It was only a couple of centimetres across but its dark colouring and constant fluttering flight made it stand out against the green of the grasses and bracken.

Chimney Sweeper Moth
The other non-bird nature thing that was abundant was the Wood Ant nests.

Wood Ant Nest
They came in all sizes from smaller than a mole hill to the one above that was over two feet high.  Each one was a hive of activity (if that is an expression you can use for ants). Even so the big ones must have taken years to construct. 

A video taken on my mobile phone
We ended the walk at the Cambus o' May suspension bridge.  A peaceful spot for lunch apart from the family on the other side having a great time in the water.  It must have been very cold!

Alex and Trevor at the Cambus o' May Bridge
The official RSPB members walk finished here but I went with Alex and Trevor to the oak woods at Dinnet.  The aim was to find a Redstart and a Green Woodpecker.  We didn't see either of them although we reckon we heard young woodpeckers.  This little excursion became an insect hunt.  Of course there were the inevitable Chimney Sweeper Moths but we also found butterflies -  Speckled Wood, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and Red Admirals and a Four Spotted Chaser dragonfly

Speckled Wood
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
This is my photo of the butterfly.  For some reason I managed to pick what was probably the most tattered one around.  The next photo was taken by Alex and is so much better than mine in so many ways.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary by Alex Jamison
Four Spotted Chaser
Total on list 192

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